2013 – what can we learn from what people read on Wikipedia?

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This post was initially sent to the media as a press release on 7 January 2014

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, has today released its statistics listing the most read articles of 2013, offering a unique insight into what got us thinking and talking last year.

For the English language version of the site television was the biggest area of interest. This was the year of Breaking Bad (3rd most viewed), The Walking Dead (11th), Game of Thrones (12th) and The Big Bang Theory (17th). Perhaps more than ever before, there is a great hunger among the telly-addict public to learn more about their favourite shows and stars.

The figures do throw up some surprising numbers. The article about Facebook (1st) was viewed over 30 million times, although probably this is because web users were typing it into the Wikipedia search by mistake! The same could be said for the articles about Google (5th), Wiki (7th), YouTube (8th) and Yahoo! (14th). Although nobody is quite sure why G-force (4th) was read by over 17 million people.

As ever, there was great interest in those who died in the past year. The article listing deaths in 2013 (2nd) and that on Nelson Mandela (16th) attracted considerable attention.

The figures from other language versions of the site are equally revealing. Who would have thought that the most viewed article in Spanish would be about the humble @ symbol? The article about the letter G, and the oriental board game Go, both feature highly in many countries. At first this looks strange, until you realise that this may be because users were expecting this to auto-complete to Google…

Other insights include the likelihood that Brazil has a problem with bullying (5th in Portuguese), Vikings are very popular in Poland (3rd in Polish) and that people in Indonesia are concerned about globalisation (9th).
If you’d like to learn more about how Wikipedia works or how you can help to edit the site, please visit www.wikimedia.org.uk and you can see the lists of most viewed articles at http://tools.wmflabs.org/wikitrends/2013.html

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